- 8,99 €
The Keys to the Jail asks the question of who is to blame for all we’ve lost, calling us to reexamine the harsh words of failed love, the aging of a once-beautiful body, even our own voracious desires. Keetje Kuipers is a poet of daring leaps and unflinching observations, whose richly textured lyrics travel from Montana’s great wildernesses to the ocean-fogged streets of San Francisco as they search out the heart that’s lost its way.
In the flattening California dusk,
women gather under palms with their bags
of bottles and cans. The grass is feathered
with the trash of the day, paper napkins
blowing across the legs of those who still
drown on a patchwork of blankets. Shirtless
in the phosphorescent gloom of streetlamps,
they lie suspended. This is my one good
life—watching the exchange of embraces,
counting the faces assembled outside
the ice-cream shop, sweet tinge of urine by
the bridge above the tracks, broken bike lock
of the gay couple’s hands, desperate clapping
of dark pigeons—who will take it from me?
A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry, Keetje Kuipers's debut collection, Beautiful in the Mouth, won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. She has been the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, and is currently an assistant professor at Auburn University.
Love lost, love almost lost, landscapes explored (especially those of the mountain West), sex imagined, and sex enjoyed all play their parts in this strongly felt, if sometimes talky, second effort from Kuipers (Beautiful in the Mouth). Never coy about her symbols, she decides "The ocean is a fist, inside of which I/ am allowed to be heartbroken," while elsewhere (in a persona poem called "The Femme") "I want to transgress the halls of sex,/ eat the filter on the cigarette." Her poems about love between women can be her strongest, and her identities complex: "I'll keep wanting it all: every man/ and woman I meet," a not-quite-sonnet promises. Short sentences alternate with longer self-explanations, never abstruse, sometimes obvious, but sometimes wise. Kuiper divides her time between Alabama and Montana, and both the warm South and the cold forests enter her work: more than in her debut, though, her sense of place serves her sense of how people behave. Fans of Mark Doty, or of Eavan Boland will find a lot here to like, especially once they get past the predictable breakup poems, into the verse about self-discovery, lust pursued or affection found, where the poet exclaims, "hope is the saddest/ secret of all: Please, be wild for me."